September 23, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Policy Summit: Coming together from both sides of the aisle to find solutions

From a bipartisan pair of White House chiefs of staff to a wide-ranging look at issues like tax fairness and economic vibrancy, the 2019 AWB Policy Summit brought together employers and political leaders to move Washington forward.

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AWB Institute releases new study on economic impact from lack of affordable child care

A new report released Wednesday by the AWB Institute and other state and national partners found that a lack of affordable child care is costing Washington businesses more than $2 billion per year in employee turnover or missed work, and the total cost to the state economy tops more than $6.5 billion per year.

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L&I Proposes a 0.8% Decrease to Workers' Compensation Premiums for 2020

Employers would see a reduction in workers' compensation insurance rates next year under a draft proposal by the state Department of Labor and Industries. AWB's Kris Johnson welcomed the move, but expressed concern about how workers' compensation funds have been diverted in recent years.

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Spokane, Vancouver, King County leaders oppose initiative to cap car tab fees

Coalitions in Spokane, Vancouver, King County and around the state are urging voters to say no to Initiative 976, which would cap car tab fees. The initiative threatens more than $25 billion in critical transportation funding across Washington, they say.

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AWB votes to oppose I-976 and endorse a legislative candidate

During the AWB board meeting last week, Washington's leading employers voted to oppose Initiative 976, which threatens to cut funding for sorely needed transportation projects across the state. AWB's board also voted to endorse state Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, in his run to retain the seat he has held for the past year.

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Federal Issues

Newhouse pushes to open Japanese markets for Washington potato producers

The U.S.-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations are underway, and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse is pushing for Washington's potato growers to have open access to Japanese markets.

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Other News

New cross-laminated timber facility in Spokane Valley shows promise of engineered lumber

The new Katerra cross-laminated timber production facility in Spokane Valley is good news for rural economies, the environment and for builders. AWB President Kris Johnson joined Gov. Jay Inslee, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and many others to tour the new engineered lumber plant during its opening last week.

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Alisha Benson named CEO at GSI

Alisha Benson was named CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc. after former CEO Todd Mielke's resignation last week. Mielke, who led GSI for three years, said he would seek other professional opportunities.

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Puget Sound Energy says proposal to ban natural gas places region at risk

A natural gas ban on new construction in Seattle is really about eliminating natural gas as an energy source, and starting that conversation without planning puts the whole region at risk, a Puget Sound Energy official told talk radio hosts recently.

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Clark County is now home to Washington's newest Center of Excellence

Washington's newest Center of Excellence job training and education location has been established in Clark County. The center will help students learn new skills and connect with new career opportunities, and help companies create a stronger workforce.

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Construction crews work around the clock to fix lock near Bonneville Dam

The Army Corps of Engineers is leading an urgent project to repair a damaged lock near the Bonneville Dam near Vancouver. Crews are working 24 hours a day to repair the lock by Sept. 30. Cargo traffic on the Columbia River is at a standstill in the meantime.

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Republicans line up for State Senate seat in 10th Legislative District

Candidates to replace outgoing State Sen. Barbara Bailey are coming forward in the 10th Legislative District. Republican Party officials will meet Oct. 3 to nominate three people for the position.

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Chelan PUD formally opposes Snake River Dam removal

Commissioners with the Chelan Public Utility District have voted unanimously to oppose the removal of four dams on the Snake River.

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Starbucks managers focus on community and social impact at largest-ever leadership conference

More than 12,000 Starbucks store managers and other partners met in Chicago earlier this month for the largest employee conference in the company's history. Attendees focused on community service, growing the business and mental health awareness, among other leadership development topics.

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AWB offers more ways to help you take care of your health

AWB's new WellCard Health program offers savings on prescription drugs, MRI imaging, doctor visits, vitamins, diabetic care services and more.

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AWB Events & Resources

New bus, new tour as AWB prepares to celebrate 'Made in Washington'

The manufacturing industry in Washington is a big deal. AWB is going on the road again this fall to highlight some of our state's high-tech innovators, heavy hitters, and up-and-comers in manufacturing. Read on to discover why we are passionate about our third-annual Manufacturing Week, and why manufacturing is so important to our state's economy.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Transportation and Energy committees to meet Oct. 7 with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's leader

Craig Kenworthy, the executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), will address a joint meeting of AWB's Transportation and Energy committees on Monday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. at the AWB offices in Olympia. Kenworthy will present PSCAA's regional low-carbon fuel standard proposal. His agency's draft rule will be published on Oct. 9, triggering a 60-day comment period. To learn more, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis.

Tweet of the Week

Fun with STEM

They Said It

The Need for Childcare

"It's a workforce issue. It's an education issue. It's a rural issue. Most important, it's a Washington issue. We need to educate people and make them aware." ~ Amy Anderson, AWB Government Affairs Director for workforce education, during the release of a new report on the impact of Washington's childcare shortage on the families, businesses and the economy.

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Arguments Against a State Income Tax

An income tax is not in our best interest

By Washington Treasurer Duane Davidson

Today, we are at a point where Washington legislators need to reexamine their financial practices and consider the consequences of their actions that have led some to consider establishing a state income tax.

The historically unpopular notion of introducing an income tax is not exactly new to Washington, yet it has seen growing interest from income tax supporters in big city government and from certain state lawmakers who would pass income tax legislation if given the opportunity.

As Washington State Treasurer, four-term Benton County Treasurer, and licensed CPA for over 25 years, I have cultivated an automatic sense of duty to advocate for fiscal responsibility. When I see such disregard for taxpayers, my obligation is to stand up for what is right on their behalf.

Many of the legislature's self-induced financial woes have readily available remedies that do not involve raising taxes or adding an income tax, making it apparent to me that as a state we have some serious financial issues within our legislative practices we need to start addressing...

Taxing income would weaken Washington's thriving economy and reduce our capacity to compete for business. We need to agree on improving our habits and reigning in state debt before considering the addition of new taxes. An income tax is not in our best interest.

Read the full guest column in The Tri-City Herald